Encho was a famous storyteller. His tales of love stirred the hearts of his
listeners. When he narrated a story of war, it was as if the listeners
themselves were on the field of battle.
One day Encho met Yamaoka Tesshu, a layman who had almost embraced masterhood in
Zen. “I understand,” said Yamaoka, “you are the best storyteller in our land and
that you make people cry or laugh at will. Tell me my favorite story of the
Peach Boy. When I was a little tot I used to sleep beside my mother, and she
often related this legend. In the middle of the story I would fall asleep. Tell
it to me just as my mother did.”
Encho dared not attempt to do this. He requested time to study. Several months
later he went to Yamaoka and said: “Please give me the opportunity to tell you
“Some other day,” answered Yamaoka.
Encho was keenly disappointed. He studied further and tried again. Yamaoka
rejected him many times. When Encho would start to talk Yamaoka would stop him,
saying: “You are not yet like my mother.”
It took Encho five years to be able to tell Yamaoka the legend as his mother had
told it to him.
In this way, Yamaoka imparted Zen to Encho.